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NAAOP’s Position on Key Issues Facing our Field

Dear O&P Professional:

The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics, NAAOP, exists because O&P patients do not always receive the care they deserve because of various government policies. Since 1987, NAAOP has shaped positive results in Healthcare legislation and regulation through strong government advocacy and education of policymakers. NAAOP serves the field by representing and partnering with only those providers of orthotic and prosthetic services who truly believe that the patient must come first. NAAOP’s message is consistent and straightforward because it is driven by the O&P patient’s well being. NAAOP is delivering the following messages to lawmakers and regulators:

Patient need must drive all policy.

Payment must be linked to patient need, individual professional competency, and facility accreditation.

NAAOP lends support to those issues that are consistent with the overriding goal of optimal patient wellness. To this end, as the volunteer president of NAAOP, I would like to clarify NAAOP’s position on some key issues facing our field and state how we are addressing them and in conjunction with whom.

Issue #1 – Federal O&P Regulation

NAAOP supports the progress made thus far on the CMS regulations for establishing quality through accreditation under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. We advocate for limiting Medicare reimbursements for comprehensive O&P services to certified orthotists and prosthetists and accredited O&P facilities. We believe that, if appropriate regulations implementing the statutory provisions are constructed and enforced, then higher quality care will be the result and wasteful and abusive activity will be deterred if not eliminated.

Issue #2 – O&P State Licensure

NAAOP supports state licensure because it protects the O&P patient by demonstrating that only practitioners with sufficient education, experience, and appropriate patient care facilities can provide complex O&P patient care. It also gives the O&P consumer legal recourse for substandard care. Medicare currently requires licensure as a condition for participation in the Medicare program for states that have licensure, but this may be modified in pending regulations.

Issue #3 – O&P Parity

NAAOP supports orthotic and prosthetic state parity legislation because it assures that amputees have access to comprehensive prosthetic care and will receive appropriate prosthetic treatment over their lifetime as to help ensure a high quality of life and full function. NAAOP strongly supports prosthetic parity as well as supporting the same concept for comprehensive orthotic care. NAAOP supports parity even in states without licensure. We do this because the vast majority, 99%, of comprehensive O&P care is provided by ABC certifies. All 9 licensed states use ABC’s examination. But most importantly, we support parity because patients are being denied access to prosthetists and the professional prosthetic care they need NOW in order to return to full function in their daily lives and in their communities. NAAOP will always seek to put the amputee’s health in the forefront and weigh all support tactics carefully to advance the state of orthotics and prosthetics wherever we can.

NAAOP addresses these issues as an advocate for the millions of individuals with amputations, limb differences and orthopedic impairments. We believe that what is good for the patient is ultimately good for the O&P profession. Since 1987, NAAOP has been lead by a consumer advocate, Peter Thomas, who has been a voice for O&P in Washington and who has taken our message to the public policy decision makers, not only as NAAOP’s General Counsel, but also as a bilateral amputee since age 10. NAAOP agenda is defined by O&P professionals who provide their professional perspective. This valuable insight illustrates what works and what is in the best interest of the O&P patient. O&P professionals, like yourself, sharing their experience have and will continue to strengthen our advocacy voice. I strongly encourage you to review the history of NAAOP’s results on behalf of our field by viewing the government relations updates and archives on NAAOP’s website, This history demonstrates NAAOP’s vigilance for our field and is also a valuable resource. NAAOP invites all O&P professionals to make a difference for their patients and practices by providing NAAOP with your feedback and support. You can do so by e-mailing us at

NAAOP’s mission is to be a strong, unifying advocate in our field. We have a long history of partnering with sister organizations to effect public policy that is clearly in the interest of the O&P patient and is now embodied in the Orthotic & Prosthetic Alliance. I am honored to be associated with NAAOP and its volunteer leadership and also our sister organizations who are of like mind.

Respectfully, Mark DeHarde President, NAAOP

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